The 8 Best PS Vita Games of 2019

See which titles you won't be able to put down

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

If you’ve got a PS Vita and are looking to fill out your game library, we’ve got a bunch of great picks for you. Thanks to the PS Vita’s variety of sensors, including a touchable front and back and the gyroscope, some really interesting game mechanics were possible on the platform. Plenty of developers took advantage of those sensors to offer unique games that should thrill PS Vita owners.

Still, other games came to the platform offering more traditional experiences that still knock it out of the park. Whether you want fast-paced action and combat or a more methodical experience like you’d find in a puzzle game or turn-based strategy game, we’ve found the best PS Vita games for you to check out.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall and Best Graphics: Tearaway

Tearaway

Courtesy of Amazon

The best game for the PS Vita also offers up the most delightful graphics on the handheld console. Tearaway is an adventure platformer that takes place in a world crafted out of paper. The art style works around the limitations of the PS Vita’s hardware to offer a visual experience that won’t have to feel like is a watered-down mobile game.

Making things even better, the game takes full advantage of the many sensors built into the PS Vita. You’ll be able to use the gyroscopic sensors to interact with the world by tilting, you can use the touchscreen, and sensors on the back let you poke your fingers up into the game to help the protagonist make it through the world.

In Tearaway, you’ll play as IOTA or ATOI and guide them through the colorful and creative paper-crafted world. The ultimate objective is to help them reach you so they can deliver an important message. This game comes from Media Molecule, the studio behind other hits like LittleBigPlanet, so fans of that platforming franchise will likely enjoy the same level of charm offered here.

Best Platformer: Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

Courtesy of PlayStation Store

Shovel Knight is an old-school platformer in the truest sense. On PS Vita, it sticks to the retro art style and simple side-scrolling format, even opting for 8-bit graphics and color. And, yes, this game comes complete with a full soundtrack done in the classic chiptunes style.

In the game, you’ll take the role of a knight who wields a shovel rather than a sword or ax. The shovel makes for a trusty weapon in combat though, as you’ll explore an expansive world with plenty of levels, each offering up a unique theme. The shovel also serves as a tool that you can use to bounce around and reach new heights, dig up treasures, or break apart sections of the level. And, as you play, you can upgrade your character and weapons.

The game will truly offer fans of classic platforms something to enjoy. It pulls from many of the best platforms from the early days of video game consoles and lets you explore a colorful world and battle diverse enemies and bosses.

Best Strategy: SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist

Courtesy of PlayStation Store

If you enjoy a good turn-based strategy game like the classic Scorched Earth or Worms games from Team 17, then you’re likely to dig what’s on offer from SteamWorld Heist. It puts you in charge of a band of robotic, steam-powered pirates as you attack enemy spaceships, challenging the enemy crews and enjoying the spoils when you win.

The game offers colorful levels and equally colorful characters, with unique dialogue that will leave them feeling more like real characters than just random combatants to take into the firefights. Combat is turn-based, as you move your characters around and devise how best to attack. You’ll also be left in charge of aiming your characters’ weapons, deciding whether you have a clear shot or need to go for a more elaborate ricochet.

With 15 to 20 hours of main story gameplay, there’s a decent amount on offer here, but there’s plenty of replayability as well. You can take advantage of the New Game+ mode, and enjoy the procedurally generated levels, so each fight is unique. If you really get into it, there’s DLC to expand the game as well.

Best Visual Novel: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

The PS Vita is a popular platform for the Visual Novel genre, blending together an artfully created narrative with rich casts of characters and gameplay elements between sections of the plot. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward nails this formula, as it follows a small cast of nine characters who have been kidnapped and trapped in a warehouse where they must play a risky game if they hope to leave alive.

In Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, you’ll be faced with puzzles that function like escape rooms, with clues hidden around that you need to find and figure out how to use. The ultimate goal is to earn nine points and use them to escape the warehouse, but characters can ally with or betray one another, and that can drastically affect the number of points earned.

The game is the spiritual sequel to the popular game 999, which featured a similar premise. For fans of this type of game, there’s plenty to do, as the game is largely replayable to get different outcomes and find out more about why everyone is captured in the first place.

Best for Action: Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush is a brilliant title that takes advantage of the PS Vita’s hardware to offer unique gameplay.

In Gravity Rush, you play as Kat, exploring a gothic and dream-like world, with plenty of glowing neon colors and a contrast that looks great on the PS Vita’s OLED screen. The game combines exploration and combat with a comic book style narrative. You’ll have to help Kat fight off enemies and regain her memory, becoming more powerful along the way.

The game’s action is centered around melee combat made all the wilder thanks to your ability to control gravity by hopping into the air, and choosing which direction you’d like gravity to take you by rotating your PS Vita. You can use it fly into the air, exploring the rich, open world. You can fly around gathering collectibles, and most importantly, you can use gravity to smash into enemies, delivering stunning blows to enemies and bosses.

If you end up loving this one, the story doesn’t end here, as there's a sequel on the PS4 with more advanced graphics and even more gravity-bending gameplay.

Best RPG: Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster

A combo package with both Final Fantasy X and X-2 remastered in HD is available, giving you double the game. The game features updated graphics from the original releases that came out on PS2, and they offer a redone soundtrack with background music that’s been remastered and rearranged from the originals.

This combo package is also one of the best RPGs in general, not just for the PS Vita. In Final Fantasy X, you’ll follow the character Tidus on a journey with a summoner named Yuna as they try to save the world of Spira from destruction, ending a vicious cycle. The game is sprinkled with CGI cutscenes, offers up a diverse game world, and is filled with interested characters to join your crew in the fight against Sin.

Final Fantasy X-2 picks up after the events of Final Fantasy X, this time following Yuna. So, with this title, you get the full story from both games.

Best Action RPG: Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

If you enjoy serious action in your video games, but like the leveling progression of an RPG, then Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is going to be well worth checking out. It’s a fast-paced action RPG with loads of combat to keep you going. It also has a brilliant, hand-painted art style that gives the characters and levels a refreshing look that won’t appear too dated like most 3D games start to after they age.

The game follows several descendants of Odin, each with unique weapons, combat styles and attacks, and movement mechanics. Each will look and play very differently, giving you plenty of diversity in the gameplay as you obliterate a wide array of enemies small and large with the powerful weapons at your disposal. As you play, you’ll gather magic crystals that unlock new skills and enhance each of your characters.

The stories following each character intertwine as well, creating a woven narrative in the world of Erion as it suffers the clash of a watered-down kingdom. You’ll have the option of enjoying the game with either English or Japanese voiceovers and can play it with the classic game mode, which offers the gameplay of the original Odin Sphere.

Best Sports: OlliOlli

OlliOlli

Courtesy of PlayStation Store

Sports fans may want to look to other platforms for the best games, as there haven’t been many major titles offering sports like basketball, baseball, football, hockey, and more on the PS Vita. Some have hit the platform, but few execute very well. Interestingly, skateboarding fans have a fun little arcade-style title to enjoy.

OlliOlli isn’t a massive game with hours and hours of story, deep gameplay, lavish levels or engaging characters. But, it does offer a challenging game in which you get one chance to make it through side-scrolling levels, skating as quick as you can and pulling off as many tricks as possible. The game warns you not to slam your face though. If you wipe out once, it’s back to the start of the level.

OlliOlli features old-school, sprite graphics for fans of retro gaming. It also includes 50 different levels for you to master as you get the hang of over 120 different tricks. For a simple sports game, OlliOlli is a great pick with plenty of challenge to enjoy.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular PS Vita games on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 107 different games overall, and read over 24 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.